December 25, 1944. CHRISTMAS 1944
They woke us again this morning for a mission, and the sky was clear as a bell, so for once our chances looked good to get the first mission in. We left San Pan at 0800 o’clock and flew a straight course to Venice, Italy. Our altitude was 25,500 and it was plenty cold. I was in the waist alone, and had to watch over Skinner and Streid. Skinner passed out from lack of oxygen - but I caught him as he fell forward and connected up his oxygen hose. We had plenty of trouble of our own doing before we hit the target. Ice was allover our necks and eyes and eyelashes from our breath passing over it. The temperature was -40oF Which is pretty damn cold. Ace - the martin turret gunner passed out from lack of oxygen right before reaching the target and stayed out about a half hour, before Graham could bring him to, So he didn’t see any of the flack that came up. It was inaccurate and all to the right. I saw it out the waist window. The bombardier had trouble releasing the load (8-500 lb’s) because he failed to warm up the interverlometer soon enough - so its hard telling where our bombs hit, but I did get a look at some other box’s bomb load. They tore hell out of the town of Halle (at INNS-BROOK~ 50 miles below Munich, as there was plenty of smoke coming up. We raillied left out of the flak and headed home over the Alps. Over Venice Some fighters were seen, but they were making passes at ships in another box. Damn glad they didn’t come over at us because the martin turret and sperry ball were not working at all. We all made it back okay - no losses to the enemy, and were we ever tired! We didn’t enjoy the turkey dinner after all, though that was the subject which we talked about after "bombs away" "lets get back to that turkey dinner." We also remarked about the fancy flak the nazis threw up at us. Black and White!! We landed at 15:30 Flying time 7:30 hrs.